The owners of Urban Bar-B-Que plan to open a third location of their small smokehouse chain in the former Willoughby’s Market in Sandy Spring, pitmaster David Calkins told Y&H over the weekend.

The lease has been signed, and since the space won’t require a massive build-out for the restaurant, Calkins expects to open the latest Urban within a month, if not sooner. Even better, Urban will install a Southern Pride XLR-600 smoker in the Sandy Spring spot; the giant machine, able to smoke hundreds of pounds of meat for 12 hours with split logs, was in large part responsible for Y&H’s recent re-evaluationof the barbecue joint in Rockville. (The lack of an XLR-600 at the Urban location in Silver Spring also explains its inferior meats.)

At the time of my March re-review, owners Calkins and Lee Howard said they were thinking about expanding the Urban mini-empire. But they thought they would do it with a centralized smoking operation; in other words, they thought they would smoke the meats at one location and then quickly truck them to the outlying Urban dining locations. I asked Calkins why the change of plans.

“It’s important to have an on-site smoker,” Calkins says. “People want to smell the aroma.”

I couldn’t argue with that, given how often I have been sucked into ‘cue joints merely by the smell of smoking meats. Calkins said the menu at Sandy Spring will be exactly the same as the one at the other locations. He did float the idea that he might add some items, like salads or buttermilk fried chicken, but emphasized that if you like something at the old Urban, you’ll find it at the new one.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery